While The City Sleeps [Remaster]
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Ask mother says the message scrawled in lipstick at a murder scene by an unknown serial killer who preys on women. It's a sensational story - if it bleeds, it leads - and a news conglomerate offers a big promotion to the high-level company exec who solves the case. So begins the wheeling, dealing and backstabbing of the competing media hotshots as they vie to unmask the so-called Lipstick Killer. Fritz Lang (The Big Heat), whose early-career expressionist works would strongly influence the film-noir genre, directs this stylistically understated noir that features an abundance of starpower rare for the genre: Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, Ida Lupino and other notables.
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Top Customer Reviews
Since I like Mr. Douglas' books, I decided to give one from Mr. Ressler a try, so this week I just purchased "Whoever Fights Monsters" (WFM). It's a very interesting read, so much so that I'd actually recommend it over what I've read from Mr. Douglas; as a matter of fact, I'm about one-third of the way through already, after only reading a bit the last couple of nights, and it is very entertaining.
But if you read WFM, you'll learn that Mr. Ressler interviewed William Heirens -- "The Lipstick Killer" (TLK) -- in prison, I believe back in the late 70s. While the book is quite informative, it's actually quite humorous in many ways as well. Mr. Ressler actually kick-started the program of interviewing serial killers in prison -- many people incorrectly think that Mr. Douglas started the program (I was one of those people) -- in a very covert fashion. Mr. Ressler discusses how his strategy in the FBI was to "ask for forgiveness, not permission," because most new ideas for programs are shot down immediately by FBI heads, and he knew that interviewing killers would not go over well by most uppers in the FBI. After all, FBI agents are supposed to catch killers, not talk to them.
Well, Mr. Heirens didn't give up much information during those interviews to Mr. Ressler, since by that time TLK decided it was in his best interest to just deny his crimes altogether. Not a bad strategy I suppose, if you think you can get a retrial. But many people now believe that Mr. Heirens was railroaded and therefore innocent, while Mr. Ressler makes it clear that the evidence against TLK was pretty overwhelming.
But if you learn about TLK's crimes, and then watch this film, quite a bit of the story was changed. I suppose that's OK, although I usually prefer movies about serial killers to be as accurate as possible. "The Deliberate Stranger" is an example of a film, adapted from a very strong book about Ted Bundy, that was mostly true. But here, I found the acting by the gentleman who plays the Heiren's character to be quite laughable, while the acting of the rest of the crew was quite strong, particularly if you consider the era. But as other people have already mentioned in many of the reviews on this site, this film is really more about the newspaper and media business, and perhaps the games that go on behind the scenes, than about the killings.
I bought this film, mostly because it was only a one-day rental I believe, and I wasn't convinced that I would finish it in one day. I can get a little distracted while watching films I'll admit, as I like to hit the pause button pretty often, head for the kitchen, and make tea, as an example. But since I bought "While the City Sleeps," I can now watch it again and again, if I want. And I know that I'll watch it at least one more time.
Well, this film is about 60 years old now, and as you probably already know, screenwriters in the "olden days" liked to write dialog that included "verbal jousting," for a lack of a better phrase. It probably is true that people, in particular men and women, interface differently over time, and so I will admit, some of the relationships and "sexual politics" were lost on me during the first viewing. I'm sure that, on the second viewing, I'll be able to more easily understand those relationships, and the overall film will make a little more sense.
Well, if you're into true-crime, and you really want to see the dastardly deeds of a serial killer, this film may not be for you. But it is surprisingly funny at times, and without watching it a second time yet, I'm guessing that it will be worth a second peek.
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